To Honor Carl Nelson

Last time I saw him he said

“ I think you and I will be friends for a long time”

But it wasn’t quie long enough

We never got another chance to recite poetry

around the fire in winter again

Eating sandwiches of sockeye spread with ooligan oil thick as margarine

For a double fish flavor

Drink home made wine and play music in the house he built himself

And named after some magical place in Viking mythology

Loaded with magic and beauty

Originality and artwork

Honoring life and the creative spirit

I’ve sat in his sauna

Being cleansed from toxic copper paint

Until the heat caused me to skinny dip in the ocean in November

Sad to hear that he’s gone but

Happy to hear that he rode right until the bitter end

Not a tragedy to die doing what you love

Last moments of life spent riding his motorbike

With the threat of long term illness looming large

Strikes fear in the hearts of the courageous

He went fishing after hearing he had cancer and limited time to live

After months of chemo and operations failed to cure him

Spent some of his precious time out on the boat chasing sockeye

To be one more time blessed by the ocean

A fortune grander than winning fifty thousand in the lottery

Like he did the year before to buy a slightly newer gill netter

With which to fish his last season

And I hear it was a good one,

though he didn’t live long enough to collect it all

Never made it out for chums

This great poet, fellow hunter of the ocean,

Keeper of legend and lore, appearing on tv reciting poems

Riding the roads strong in his heart

Facing death courageously,

The world will be so much less without him

We can only be thankful

That he took time to inspire others

To share of his life, his skills and imagination

so he’ll be remembered and treasured for years to come.